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Overcoming the societal expectations making it hard for women to leave social media

Replied to The luxury of opting out of digital noise by Vicki Boykis (★ Vicki Boykis ★)

Facebook, for better or worse, is still the platform where social events are planned. Where parent groups exchange information. Where family pictures are shared and discussed. To willingly walk away from Facebook and all of its needy notifications is to experience both immense relief and complete ostracism.

And yet, many men I know personally, and online, have been able to walk away from Facebook entirely.

As I’ve struggled with my own balance of this…what I’ve realized…is that women have been distinctly asked [to] shoulder the burden of this specific digital noise.

I’d be much more interested in reading Cal Newport’s wife’s book about how she unplugged.

Ha! This is basically how I feel about Cal Newport. And I don’t even have kids 😂

This article was making me think more about why women aren’t as involved in the IndieWeb, and how to get more women involved. From the standpoint that a lot of mom duties are reliant on social media, seems like your best bet is to focus more on women who aren’t mothers – probably women in college and in their twenties.

What’s the value proposition of a personal website for that age group? I don’t know a lot of younger people so I’m not sure how things have changed since I was in college (yikes fifteen years ago), when every artist had their own portfolio website so it felt like you needed one too if you were in art or design. Now you can just run an Instagram, or set up a Behance portfolio or probably some other cooler website. After graduating, I blogged my internship so I’d have something fresh online if anyone looked me up. Today people have LinkedIn to put themselves out there for hiring. (I obviously still think it’s valuable to have your own site under your control, but I’m not 24 😁)

I think deeper connection is the answer here. When you graduate college, you and your friends go your separate ways. Facebook and Instagram give you the semblance of staying connected but without the frequent interaction of college you drift apart – and making new friends is much harder after college. So a better way to stay in touch and communicate could be compelling, especially to a savvy group aware of the damage social media can cause to young women.

Or, you go all in on the mommy blogger / lifestyle blogger scene and try to get everyone hooked up with webmentions to port the whole community over to a new system. For example, Emily Henderson’s blog still gets (lots of) rich threaded comments. The challenge there is that people congregate around the main blog, and probably a lot of commenters don’t have websites of their own. Do people commenting see a value to having their own website when they’re maintaining a community well enough through the comments on someone else’s blog? Community alone probably isn’t enough of a selling point.

Plus, what’s the value to Emily Henderson’s business in supporting webmentions and promoting her followers joining the IndieWeb and using its tools? (Besides the goodness of her heart and wanting to support an alternative system.) More lifestyle bloggers is more competition.

Another place I see lots of women is cooking blogs – just look at the invaluable comment section on Smitten Kitchen where each recipe has dozens of people who’ve shared the changes they made to the recipe, how it turned out, and what they’d change next time. That style of commenting realistically works better for webmentions than more threaded replies – and is a more demonstrably useful reason to have your own blog, so all your recipe notes are in one spot on your own blog as well as on displayed as a webmention on the original website 🤔 Yeah, cooking blogs seem like an audience who could benefit from the IndieWeb.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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